Changes coming for drivers to SF's Market Street

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Changes coming for drivers to SF's Market Street
The rules are changing to make San Francisco's Market Street quicker for Muni and safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you regularly drive your car on Market Street in San Francisco, get ready for big changes starting Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. The new restrictions will be in place between 3rd and 8th streets and it is all part of an effort to eliminate traffic deaths.

You have to figure that when a group of San Francisco administrators and politicians gather on a street corner, something is up. They're bucking history, to a degree, on the grand thoroughfare that predates the Great Quake of 1906. It was chaos then and it still is. If you look at it now, the faces and modes of transportation have changed, but it still has chaos.

"This is a significant change... and this is part of trying to bring order to the chaos," Ed Riskin, San Francisco's director of transportation said.

He is justifying the big changes on Market Street between 3rd and 8th streets. Beginning Tuesday, private cars will not be allowed to turn during those blocks, they must continue straight down Market Street. The drivers also can't turn onto Market Street, along much of the stretch, but those driving private cars can proceed straight across Market.

Take a look at the map of the Market Street changes here

Here is a map of the turns no longer permitted by private vehicles along Market Street in San Francisco starting Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (Photo courtesy SFMTA)

"Some of them will be in for a surprise, but I actually think people will get used to this," San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim said.

Data shows 160 injury accidents in two years between 3rd and 8th. Private cars make up 10-30 percent of the traffic, but they were responsible for 80 percent of the collisions.

You'll notice new signage, better markings in streets and crosswalks, a freer flowing Muni and supposedly, more safety for bike riders.

"Well there is a lot of traffic and if busses and professional drivers who know where they are going, then we won't have random people turning left," bicyclist Carl Blij said.

And that's what the city calls progress in these four lanes with more than a century of chaos in motion.